I was originally planning on writing about K-On, but I really couldn’t get through the first season at all. Watching an anime where school girls just hang out isn’t that new of a concept for me, but there was something about the nature of the show that just didn’t click for me compared to other pieces of Yamada’s work. I began skipping scenes entirely, which is a very bad sign. So instead, I watched this film and I liked being in this show’s head space again. Having watched this show a while back and just loving all the insanity and thoughtfulness that it brought with it, seeing these characters again was a delight. The series had no clear ending until this movie came out. It only took four years. This film was such a delightful walk through memory lane with some minor issues here and there.
One of the major weaknesses of this film is the context behind all the stuff in the film. You can watch this film by itself, but it would be missing so many interesting tidbits and themes. Also, not all characters get a solid introduction which is a big detriment to the film to itself. The movie itself came out an unspecified amount of time after season two in the context of the story as well where our protagonist’s ,Yuta Togashi (The Dark Flame Master), relationship with Rikka (Evil Lord Shingan Holder) hasn’t changed much since we’ve last seen them. Even though they live in the same apartment and they are dating. Because of that, Rikka’s sister Tokka is almost forcing Rikka to move to Italy with her because Rikka is still as Chuunibyou as she was before meeting Yuta and her grades aren’t too great either. If you have never heard of Chuunibyou before, it’s called eighth grader’s syndrome but it basically when your imagination goes wild and you think you have magical fantasy powers. Pretty much your average con goer. So basically, the movie is about Yuta and Rikka hitting the road and eloping while escaping Tokka’s grasp and the goons who are black mailed to follow them. Yeah, that’s the plot in a nut shell.
The major part of the film, even if it doesn’t dive into this as much as they could have, was Yuta and Rikka figuring out if they really wanted to continue with this relationship. Yuta is still a recovering Chuunibyou trying to live a normal school life and is also trying not to go down the path of acting like the a fantasy sword wielder again. His attraction to Rikka is kind of sort of being put into question here because he’s trying to figure out what their future would be like and he decides it would be cool anyway. So he loves Rikka because he’s a chuunibyo. On the other hand, Rikka is still deep into being a chuunibyou and finds her relationship is taking away her “powers”. For those who haven’t watched series, this is her way from escaping her feelings about her father’s death. It looks very superficial here without that prior knowledge from the series. Finding her mental strength for once, she decides to stay with Yuta in spite of it all. It’s not a deep movie at all because while these conflicts are in the forefront, it doesn’t take that much development or mental movement for each of the characters to get to their entry point. It is something for them to move forward with though just not as emotional as the film wanted this to be.
Toka, Rikka’s older sister, is brought to the forefront here as well. Even if she does have a lot less screen time in the show then others, but that doesn’t mean that her story isn’t important. Toka just wants her sister to be what can be considered by societal standards as normal. We never got to why that is until the movies ending, but Toka’s life is going very different directions and she loves her little sister. It’s just that she isn’t the kind of character to say that right out. All Toka does is want to make sure that Rikka can live without her because being a chuunibyo won’t help her live in society that well. Her methods of using black mail and spy equipment are a lot of fun though, so she really does provide a lot of fun and emotional stuff behind this movie itself. That is both a good and a bad thing.
Speaking of those goons from earlier, their names are Dekomori and Nibutani. Dekomori is the supposed under steady of Rikka’s, so she’s very deep in chuunibyou nature, who somehow got the position of School President. Nibutani herself is a recovering chuunibyou who wanted a normal life and got the position of School Vice President. In a kind of yuri baiting sort of way, Tokka blackmails the two of them to go after Rikka and Yuta because she has a photo of the two them in a very compromising kissing position and threatening to post it online. It is funny that the two of them pretty much went on a lot of dates following our two protagonists and even cuddling in a hotel room. Yeah, Tokka got a photo of that too. At the same time, it’s a little baitful and little uncomfortable in some ways. I’m saying it’s the worst thing ever to happen in anime, but the film is deliberately putting the two in somewhat forced positions, so there is a lot to talk about here.
The visuals of this film were as stunning as you would think something Kyoto Animation would be, even if it does look like a television series. Maybe slightly better. I mean, Kyoto Animation has high production values for their television series anyway so you can’t really tell the differences anyway. The backgrounds are amazing because they look photorealistic like usual like the character animation. I also love all the chuunibyo power displays because they are even bigger and bolder then what the show ever aspired to do. While there aren’t that many scenes in this film so the imagination behind the powers is incredibly explosive. Kyoto Animation doesn’t always do fantasy magic stuff, but maybe they should. Their production values behind them are amazing.
It may sound like I am a little down on Take On Me, but I am not really. Just being in the mind space of this series was enough for me to enjoy it quite a bit. All the fun of the last two seasons (yes, I liked season two) and the character moments went along with me when I watched film. The chemistry between each character is still good, the world of normal and chuunibyo at war with each other was still fun, and it’s still an incredibly beautiful film even if it feels like Kyoto Animation’s B Team worked on this. The show itself had a balance of dealing with loss while also having fun episodes dedicated to competitive napping. This movie went for a similar approach with a smaller amount of time, so this is the result. A not as deep movie with some good laughs. Still, I would recommend this film to everybody. Just watch the two seasons first. It’s worth it, trust me.